The Centurion’s Anguish

Here is another video based on the Passion of the Christ. It is a powerful though imaginary account of the the reflection of the Centurion who was ordered to crucify Christ. As the account goes on he becomes anguished in his cry: “Why Am I killing this man?!?”  In the end he accepts Jesus’  request  that God forgive us and the Centurion comes to faith.

Watch this video! It is long (13 minutes) but well worth the time. If you can’t watch it now, come back later in Holy Week. But watch it. It is very well done.

Bearing Christ to the World

Today, we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation, and Mary’s “yes” to God’s invitation to bring his Son into the world. As it is also the mid-way point of Lent, it is a good time to ask ourselves if we have invited someone to Christ—that is have we extended Archbishop Wuerl’s invitation to a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker.

 

I chose to go the electronic route and sent the video to a good friend who lives in another state. I used the excuse of talking about work as a chance to say “I thought of you while working on this project.” It’s time for me to check back in with her to see if she has accepted the invitation.

 

Are you hesitating to invite someone because they are not able to receive Holy Communion? Though the reception of the Eucharist is the most complete experience of an encounter with Christ we can have, there are three other ways in which Christ is present in the Mass. Christ is present in the Word, in the priest and in the people who are gathered.

 

People of the Word

We encounter Jesus in the proclamation of the Word. It is in the Word that we learn the story of God’s love for his people. In the Gospel we hear the voice of our Lord fulfilling the mission of his Father through preaching, teaching and praying. The Word is a living word.

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord

In the community, we see the face of Jesus in our brothers and sisters. We can’t be Catholic alone.  We call ourselves the body of Christ and so are called to be full and active members of a parish community. If the parish is our spiritual home, our fellow parishioners are our spiritual family. We believe that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to each member of the body that are necessary for the building of the community. Each of us is a needed and necessary member of the parish community.

 

Priests as Spiritual Fathers

In the person of the priest we also encounter the living Christ. In the tradition of the prophets, our priests speak the word of God to God’s people. They put skin and bones to the presence of the invisible God as they extend the healing hand of God’s touch, as they speak the forgiving word of God’s mercy and as they call us together to worship.

 

We are extending an invitation to encounter the Lord who is always present in the Blessed Sacrament. Pope Benedict XVI writes “we reserve the Eucharist so that the church is never a lifeless space. The Lord is there watching–waiting–wanting–to make us Eucharist.

 

Who can you invite?

 

40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 19 – Pilgrimages – Annual Seven Church Walk for Young Adults

Like many world religions, Catholicism maintains the practice of making pilgrimages to sacred sites or shrines. In his time, Saint Philip Neri (1515-1595), Patron of Rome, would lead excursions to the four Major and three Minor basilicas of Rome. The day included music, catechetical instruction, and a picnic along the way.

 

The Pilgrimage to the Seven Churches of Rome included:

San Pietro in Vaticano

San Paolo fuori le Mura

San Giovanni in Laterano

Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

San Lorenzo fuori le Mura

San Sebastiano fuori le Mura

 

Here in the Archdiocese of Washington we have our own Seven Church Walk! The Seven Church Walk serves as a spiritual preparation for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and is a unique way to see our historic city and its architectural diversity.

 

This year, the pilgrimage will be held on Saturday March 28 from 9:30am – 4:00pm. The day will begin with 9:30am Mass at St. Patrick’s Church (619 Tenth Street NW) and will include the Litany to St. Joseph, Stations of the Cross, Rosary, a meditation, prayers for Pope and Bishops, Divine Mercy, and Eucharistic Adoration.

 

The sites for the Seven Church Walk include:

St. Patrick

Immaculate Conception

St. Aloysius

St. Joseph

St. Peter

Holy Rosary

Mary Mother of God

 

Join more than a hundred young adults from across the Archdiocese as we visit and pray at these seven churches in downtown Washington, DC. Please bring water, a bag lunch (or money for lunch), a rosary, and a contemplative spirit. You must wear good walking shoes because we will be walking about 6.5 miles!

 

RSVP to [email protected] 

 

 

Marked with the Sign of the Cross

Have you noticed that Ash Wednesday is one of the days when Catholic churches are most crowded? What about wearing ashes captures people’s imagination? The practice is so powerful that in recent years Lutherans and Methodists among others have rediscovered this ancient practice. This is even more surprising since the ashes remind us that one day–we will die.

For Catholics Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent, a forty-day period of time where we examine our relationship with God. Specifically we look at the ways sin weakens our relationship with God and weakens our relationship with the people who fill our lives and our cubicles.

Really, there is more to Lent than not eating meat on Friday. When has good sushi on Friday ever made a difference in your relationship with God? Reducing Lent to “giving up something” or not eating meat is at best Lent Lite.

The three ancient practices of Lent get at the heart of what is means to be Christian and help me take Lent more seriously. In Prayer–I examine my relationship with God. Is God at the center of my life and is God getting quality time? Prayer is both listening to God and talking with God. I can always do more of both.

By Fasting–I examine myself. Do I treat the good things in life as gifts from God and gifts to be used responsibly and in moderation? Is the way I am eating and drinking contributing to good health or making it harder to live healthy. Am I looking for love in all the wrong places? Am I spending too much time in cyberspace and in a virtual world–at the expense of real relationships and real responsibilities in the real world? Fasting teaches me moderation and right balance in all areas of my life.

Through Almsgiving–I think about how I share my time, my talent and my treasure for the good of other people. Sometimes, it is so much easier to write a check or make a donation than to give up some of the time that I seem to have so little of for me, to support a cause or “be there” for a family member or friend. Jesus teaches us that the measure of our love for God is the measure of our love for others–especially the others that we don’t really like.

Make the most of these 40 days to let go of some bad habits and pick-up some good habits that in the language of faith are called virtues.

May God fill these days with his grace and mercy.